If there’s a lightning rod pairing of topics that goes hand in hand in college sports, in the NCAA and money. At the center of the whirlwind for many decades was the matter surrounding college athletes being paid for their name, image and likeness. Even though that issue has been put to bed for the time being, the conversation surrounding how the NCAA utilizes its resources will continue to forge ahead for the foreseeable future.
The Knight Commission is particularly interested in ensuring that this dialogue surrounding revenue and the NCAA is an ongoing one. The organization has been around for 32 years, and is committed to continuously reviewing and improving the NCAA’s practices regarding the welfare of student athletes. It is comprised of former NCAA chancellors, student athletes, and leaders looking to bring positive change to collegiate athletics.
According to their report released last month, entitled “Connecting Athletics Revenues with the Educational Model Of College Sports”, there’s a growing concern that the amount of money being received by power conferences, and the way that they’re spending it, too closely mirrors that of a professional sports league.
“Burgeoning NCAA, CFP, and conference revenues will be spent disproportionately on coaching compensation and athletics facilities, propelling the competitive arms race of Division I college athletics and intensifying the trajectory towards a professional sport model,” the report deduced. Via ESPN.com
The Knight Commission’s opinion and concern regarding the commercialization of college sports certainly don’t seem to be off base, but their conclusion seems to reinforce something we’ve known for quite some time. With student-athletes now having the ability to profit off of their name, image and likeness, the professional sport model might be already be even more entrenched. Athletes might actually make decisions on which school to attend based on how a university can market their brand, so the cat seems to be out of the bag in that regard.
It doesn’t seem likely this will completely reverse course, but the Knight Commission has a couple of ideas to help restore some balance of power. One suggestion could be to limit the amount of money schools can spend on coaching salaries; if they go over a predetermined threshold, the school will be subject to a tax penalty. Another idea put forth was to mandate that a certain amount of revenue generated be allocated to education, or health and safety of the players.
“Concrete and meaningful revenue distribution and spending requirements are necessary today because the financial structure and the incentives in Division I college sports are broken,” said Knight Commission co-chair Nancy Zimpher. Via ESPN.com